The “I” word?

Are you aware that there is a movement to drop the word “Illegal” from regular use?

According to the research I have done the word is being equated to the infamous “N” word, among other racially charged terms.

In an effort to educate myself and get more information on this topic, I reached out to someone I found on twitter for insight. The reaction from the person was very defensive, the individual stated that “I should stop using the ‘I’ word before communicating with her”.  My initial reaction was that of defensiveness as well, in so far as I know, if you are in this country, and you don’t have documents, you are here illegally. Period. Right?

Well, apparently not. The person stated that this term has been deemed offensive.  I decided I would further research this “I’ word thing a little deeper, and there is in fact a movement to ban the word. Here is some information I found on Colorlines:

A harmful slur

“Illegals” is a racially charged slur used to dehumanize and discriminate against immigrants and people of color regardless of migratory status. The i-word is shorthand for “illegal alien,” “illegal immigrant” and other harmful terms.

Due Process, accuracy and dignity

Pervasive systems like media and government normalize their use and make it easier to deny people basic human rights through our written and unwritten rules. Use of the i-word ignores the fact that our laws are unjustly applied. Immigrants without documents are regularly hired as cheap, exploited labor. No one else who benefits from the set up, including the employers who recruit and hire these migrants, is labeled this way. No one should ever be labeled this way. No human being is illegal.

In an effort to stay neutral, NYCTalking has decided to remove all references to the word “Illegal Alien” from our articles. The “I” word has been replaced with the word “undocumented” wherever applicable.

What are your thoughts on this topic? In this day and age, it seems every group has decided that some words are consider offensive. For instance, if you are using a word to describe someone’s skin color, a listener can decide to find racial overtones in the statement. But let’s be practical, I’m Puertorican and I have very white skin.  Its just a matter of fact, nothing racial about that, right? Why would saying “I saw this white skin guy” be offensive to me? Are we getting carried away with  political correctness as a society?

Do you agree that the “I” word is offensive?

Please note the date on a post, it may be an old view. Growth and change.

Angel Rodriguez

Angel covers fitness, social issues, reviews, news & more! He's a veteran, tech and fitness pro which has been featured on Huffpo, NatGeo, NPR, NY1, HLN, Men's Fitness, MTV, & other major platforms. Angel is also Brazilian Jiujitsu White belt.
Angel Rodriguez


  1. The left tries to shut us down by calling us things like: racists, homophobes, haters, etc. Who cares if they say the term illegal alien offends them! There are illegal and they're aliens. The left wants to control the debate by controling the language. It's not abortion, it's choice. It's not illegal alien, it's undocmuented (as if they're legal but they just lost some paper work). I found a website that can help you translate Liberal Speak into Engish.

  2. I know this statement will not be popular on this site, and I certainly mean no offense by it being a NYC raised Latino myself, but let's speak clearly here. I'm going to play devils advocate and speak as some would be afraid to do here.

    You know where the folks in power will take issue, particularly those against people that entered the country illegally? "Dreamers" make demands as if it's owed to them from our government. I'm sorry, but you can't go around "demanding" anything. You came here illegally, that's established, you are asking for citizenship because you finished school, have jobs, and stayed out of trouble? Those things benefit you as well, why do they owe you anything? You attained an opportunity that you wouldn't have otherwise, and you did it here while entering illegally. Yet you demand something for it?

    I read up on this topic, and I felt it had some merit. But when I read comments like "why should we accept anything less", I can't help but think "are you serious? They could deport you, you are not here legally dude, relax. How can you go around making demands like that that"…

    "I demand my citizenship"….

    Now worst case scenario, let's say they deport you, while you were here you attained a higher education, saved money, and potentially prepared yourself to thrive and do very well in your own "origin" country. For a worst case scenario I'd take that as win compared to never having the chance to come here.

    I spoke with a few Dream reps on twitter, and they struck me as very angry and defensive, attacking, twisting and overanalyzing every little word I said…. Rather than telling me "We find illegal alien offensive", they attacked "People like me" and said they were "undocumented". As if they lost the paperwork? I told them I won't use the "I" word anymore, but they could have educated rather than attack me.

    "We are undocumented, unafraid, and unapologetic". Aggressively coming at me when all I was doing was asking simple questions seeking to get educated as to the cause and the act. The attitude basically set me against that little group, rather than help, they irritated me and put me on the other side. I could have been a helpful ally using my reach to help, but I was attacked and berated. So who's to blame for my now not so positive view towards their group?

    Check the attitude and understand that these people in power don't owe you @$@#$. Because they don't. You can take this fighting angry attitude, but understand, you are owed nothing.

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